In the last post, I discussed how the neurochemical, dopamine, is released in the brain when sexual arousal occurs, and there is a direct correlation between the frequency of release and sexual addiction.
Put simply, internet sex pushes a button in our brain that makes us want more, and want it more frequently. This is what I call the “wrong high.”
But there’s a good high, too. God has created our human bodies to experience a Godly high throughout our normal lives. Healthy highs are the good feelings we get when we’re hungry and we eat, when we’re thirsty and we drink, when we go for a long run and we’re in the “zone,” when we laugh, when we fall in love, and yes, when we make love.
Now you can see how wonderful our God is, compared to some religions that depict him as a cruel judge. The one true God has wired us to ENJOY life, and it so happens that during these highs, He is guiding and protecting us along the way. Imagine if eating was not pleasurable. We might all end up dead from starvation. Or if laughter didn’t feel good “like a medicine.” We would be a miserable lot, that’s for sure. And if making love were not pleasurable, well, that’s the end of the human race!
But it so happens that there’s another threat to the human race—allowing the wrong high to take over our minds and therefore our lives.
Doesn’t it make sense, then, that if we can control this wrong high, then we’re on the road to recovery and freedom?
Well, the first step is to recognize when this high kicks in. The best way I can do that is by using an illustration.
Michael is a man with a sexual addiction problem. When he was eleven years old, he wanted to help his dad find his mom a great Mother’s Day present. A massage, he thought, would be the perfect thing. But when Michael ran the search on the internet, he was bombarded with photos he had never seen before. They were different. And…they excited him. Michael experienced his first high of this kind.
As a teenager, this high was so good that when Michael’s parents yelled at each other and his father slapped his mother around, all he wanted to do was forget about this bad air in the house. What better way to “escape” than by looking at racy images on the internet and feeling good?
As an adult, who now realizes that he never really had a healthy relationship with either his mother or father, Michael not only kept up his internet escape. He lived out his fantasies with the real thing.
Michael then found Lisa, a wonderful woman to marry. He even accepted Christ into his life because of her. Things were going well for a few months, but as in most marriages, that first year was a doozy. Lisa set him off, wanting her way all the time. Something in him wanted relief. After all, his fights with his wife were her fault. Kinda like when his father beat his mother, he accused her of being so stubborn. And what was the best way he could find relief? You guessed it.
Not only did Michael renew his love affair with internet porn, he was soon going on adult match sites, exchanging pornographic images of himself with other women, and having mental affairs in chat rooms.
Michael was in such a habit of seeking relief during times of stress, that the more relief he got, the more he wanted to seek the high just for the sake of the high, even in the absence of stress.
Okay, so what about these wrong highs? When and how do they kick in?
Well, from what you’ve read about Michael thus far, I’m sure you can guess. Michael already has a library of porn and illicit sex acts in his mind that’s larger than the Library of Congress. With each photo he saw, even as a child…with each video he watched…with each girl of a different body type, hair color, or even personality he had premarital sex with, he unknowingly created internal triggers that activate when they sense different cues.
For example, let’s say Michael’s driving to work on a typical day. He stops for gas at a station. While filling up, he sees the woman filling up across from him. She has long red hair and has high heels on, JUST LIKE a woman he saw in one of his many porn video collections. That glance that he let linger just opened the tap in his brain. Dopamine releases. Michael gets “that feeling” again.
Now he’s driving in the car. He turns on talk radio to take his mind off of what happened at the gas station. As he’s driving, he notices they put up another billboard on his route to the office. It’s advertising a new lingerie shop in town, and yes, there’s a photo of a seductive woman on it. There goes the tap again.
Finally, he’s at the office. First thing he does is put his briefcase on his desk and makes a trip to the snack room to get some morning java. When he enters the room, however, he gets morning “lava.” The office secretary is pouring coffee for herself, turns around to say good morning, and in doing so, reveals a neckline on her blouse that’s way too low.
“You know, this is NOT my fault!” Michael screams to himself inside. On his way home from work, he stops by an adult peep show for “relief.” He feels so guilty now as he arrives home. Then, when he thought he had sufficient relief, the thoughts from the day flood his mind again and the tap opens once more.
Lying in bed in tears, Michael doesn’t know what to do or where to turn. He feels too sinful to talk to God about it. He just knows he’ll hear God yell from heaven if he listened well enough. Tomorrow’s another day, he thinks. Another opportunity to conquer this thing. But also, another day to fall again.
Can you pinpoint when all the wrong highs kicked in?
As you read this, you’re either feeling so sorry for Michael or you’re hating him. Maybe you feel like I just read your mail, that I just wrote your life story. Or maybe you’re a wife and fear just raced in your heart. “Could this be my husband, too?” you dread.
Let me end on a good note—THERE IS HOPE! The wrong high does not have to rule your life or the life of your spouse. Every voice inside of you that says it will last a lifetime is nothing but a lie from the pit of hell.
There is a way to purge the hellish library and arrest the wrong highs so that they never have control of you or your marriage again. From now on in this series, we’ll take that road to recovery and healing together.
WE PRAISE YOU, OUR GOD, FOR BEING THE ANCHOR OF OUR SOUL, AND THAT YOU HAVE “PREDESTINED [US] TO BE CONFORMED TO THE IMAGE OF [YOUR] SON!” (
Hope is alive and it’s alive in You, Lord.